Tomato Sambar - Idli Sambar Diaries!

Sambar is an essential dish of the Indian household, especially South Indian. Making sambar is a simple process, but to make lip-smacking sambar, you need to have a good measure of ingredients. Sambar comes in several varieties. Lentil sambar, vegetable sambar, tomato sambar, and idli sambar are some of the sambar varieties you will find homemakers cooking in Indian kitchens. Whether it is tomato sambar or idli sambar, the process involved in preparing them is the same. Only a few ingredients are changed, or the quantity of ingredients is altered to make these different sambars. Dipping hot idli or vada in sambar and savoring it with chutney is considered heavenly experience in South India. If the idli sambar doesn’t go well with the idli, it is considered a failure. It is important to learn how to make delicious sambar so that your family members gobble as much idlis as possible. Let’s see how to make tomato sambar.

Tomato Sambar Info:

Prep Time

15 Mins

Cook Time

25 Mins

Total Time

40 Mins


South Indian


Main course

Tomato Sambar Ingredients:

For Sambar Powder:

To make failure-proof idli sambar, the important ingredient is sambar powder. Sambar powder is prepared using several spices. These spices are grown in an environment where they acquire unique taste and smell. Adding the sambar powder to any sambar gives the sambar flavor and increases the taste.


  • Coriander Seeds – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Chana Dal – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Urad Dal – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Cumin/Jeera – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Curry Leaves – 2 to 3
  • Dried Red Chili – 2 to 3
  • Coconut Oil – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida/Hing – 1/10 tablespoon

For Tomato Sambar:

  • Shallot – 1 half
  • Chili – 1/2 (Slit)
  • Tomato – 1/2 (Chopped)
  • Carrot – 1/5 (Chopped)
  • Potato – 1/4 (Cubed)
  • Beans – 1.25 (Chopped)
  • Drumstick – 1.25 (Chopped)
  • Brinjal – 1.5 (Cubed)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/10 tablespoon
  • Jaggery – 1/6 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Tamarind Extract – 1/5 cup
  • Toor Dal – 1/4 cup (Boiled)
  • Coriander – 1/2 tablespoon (Finely Chopped)
  • Sunflower Oil – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Mustard – 1/4 tablespoon
  • Fenugreek – 1/10 tablespoon

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Preparing Sambar Powder:

  • Making sambar powder starts from frying all of its ingredients using the coconut oil for 2 to 4 minutes in the frying pan. You should fry the ingredients one by one and make sure they don’t burn.
  • Once the ingredients are fried, you should grind them in a mixer grinder or pound them using the traditional method. You should grind the ingredients till you get a slightly coarse powder. If you find making sambar powder difficult, you can buy the powder from your nearest store.

Preparing Tomato Sambar:

  • Add 1/4 tablespoon sunflower oil in a large pan and heat. Once the oil gets heated, add some amount of sambar powder and wait until it splutters.
  • Add shallots and chili to the oil. Sauté until the ingredients develop the color.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and sauté until they become soft.
  • After tomatoes turn soft, add chopped and cubed vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Now, add jaggery, salt, and water to the pan and mix them well. Cook the ingredients for 10 minutes by covering the pan.
  • Remove the lid and add tamarind extract to the boiling mixture. Cook the ingredients for another 10 minutes. Keep the lid closed, all while boiling.
  • Add boiled toor dal and adjust the consistency by adding some more water.
  • Add 1.5 tablespoon of sambar powder and let the mixture boil.
  • After a few minutes, you will start smelling the flavors. Add curry leaves and cook for another two minutes.

Turn off the fire after 3 minutes. Your tomato sambar is ready. Serve hot with idli, vada, dosa, or rice.